The following was included in the report on the National LCMS Church Worker Family Needs Assessment Pilot Report.
Church worker households are either one-direction (not-married or both-church workers or stay-at-home-mom) or two-direction (Church work plus other non-Church Work) vocational orientations creating two types of church worker households requiring care.
Regardless the household, somewhere after the morning’s coffee—someone heads off to work. This study specifically asked, “Which of the following statements best describes your church worker family connection?” The options were:
1 I am currently a church worker and not married (13% with 7% of Males & 17% of Females)
2 I am currently a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is not a church worker (43% with 46% of Males & 41% of Females)
3 I am currently a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is not--but was previously (8% with 11% of Males & 4% of Females)
4 I am not a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is currently a church worker (17% with 12% of Males & 10% of Females)
5 We are both church workers (20% also 24% of Males & 16% of Females)
For those self-identifying with 1 I am currently a church worker and not married and 5 We are both church workers, we see one-third, or vocational orientation (and when including 3 I am currently a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is not--but was previously).This one-way vocation orientation both shares and is totally immersed in the church/school workweek, fixed vacation opportunities, notion of Sunday or evening duties, and so forth.While the roles might be different, the degree of cognitive dissonance as far as explicit and implicit expectations by their employers are similar.Church worker family care has a central focus—church work, likely as part of the problems faced.
Now, for those self-identifying with 2 I am currently a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is not a church worker, 3 I am currently a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is not--but was previously, and 4 I am not a church worker, but my spouse, fiancé, significant other is currently a church worker, we see .This two-way street can be church/school + other, or other + church/school and means there are likely both church/school & other calendars, or other & church/school workweeks, multiple vacation opportunities, values for Sunday and evening duties, and so forth. This household faces a growing list of confounding variables as work and home life are sought to be balanced.
But not all vocational orientation is equal.To the question “I am currently”, and “If married, my spouse is currently”, our crosstabulation of our aggregate revealed 672 (67%) self-identified as “Professional” with 354 (43%) of the 827 married and not retired responding to the “my spouse is currently” question identifying their spouse’s vocational status as also “Professional”.This Professional + Professional combination was (n=79) and (Roster & non-Roster) Workers (n=151) for married workers self-identifying their spouse’s work.
It is clear that the term “professional church worker” takes on a different meaning when closely examining the prevalence of two-professional households, whether ordained or commissioned.Of special note is that and maintain their own professional schedule—making joining their spouse at District one-to-many events a calendar-juggling issue.Considering some forms of one-to-some enrichment venues is worthy of consideration.
This contrast between the one and two directional vocational orientation is especially pressing when a church views the church worker’s spouse from a one-directional household lens when in truth, to make church worker life work, the spouse is maintaining their own full-time professional role and set of expectations. Since 2009, the counselors at Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat have indicated that during the weeklong counseling retreats they heard the common themes of: having feelings of resentment, powerlessness, intimidation, and sadness regarding the dynamics within the parish over which they have little influence, or capacity to control.
Add the “unwritten Pastor’s Manual” + the “conundrum of both one-directional and two-directional church worker households”, we begin to see attention needed both within the church worker household system, but also within the parish system pertaining to expectations of this “New Boomer” generation from which we do not yet know how spouses will react. With typical parishes significantly weighted with as many of two-thirds of members forming their church worker expectations out of the Good Warrior, Lucky Few and Baby Boomer generations, District level solutions will likely be required.
For the Commissioned church worker household (including both Roster and non-Roster ministers), the professional + professional two-directional vocational orientation has far more women in the church worker role, than for Ordained minister households. Further analysis is underway to gain additional insights.